|System: PS3, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SCE San Diego||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 25, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1(12 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The racing isn't all bad, though. It's fast-paced, which leads to a lot of exciting moments, and the tracks are interesting with oodles of obstacles and ramps to spice up each race. The ramps are particularly fun, as MNR employs a light trick system that awards you points for doing simple tricks like spins in mid-air.
Visually, the game is really good looking. The cartoony art style runs throughout the game, but it works so well (especially considering this is an arcade racer) that it's hard to even notice. For the most part, this is another department in which the PSP version is a scaled-down replica of its big brother on the console. They've managed to keep a large amount of the visual style's soul intact, and while it doesn't stack up against the best the PSP has to offer (by design), it's still quite good.
Ultimately, ModNation's greatest achievement is that is blends its creation modes into the campaign mode. So, you're not just racing all the time, you're also eased into the creation process. Many people shy away from large, intimidating level creators due to the harsh learning curve. However, ModNation takes it slow and introduces things to you at a casual pace. The best thing this game accomplishes is that it invokes your creative side even if you didn't know you had it.
If they had just included the level/character/kart creator as a bonus, the majority of players would never touch it. In this case, though, players are given a steady introduction that may very well prove that some players have a great interest in level/game creation. It's a great system. I can't help but wonder if we'll look back 30 years from now and see how ModNation Racers and its spiritual cousin, LittleBigPlanet, birthed an entire generation of game designers.
Despite some weaknesses in the driving sections - which you would think would be a deal-breaker for a racing game - the overall package is still very much worth it. There may be a bit of precision missing in the controls, but that is greatly alleviated when you're cruising along a beautifully realized vision of your own creation. Even if there was no racing at all, this would still be a game worthy of your dollar. The level creator is a giant leap forward for community created content, and I greatly hope that Sony continues with this philosophy of game design.
CCC Freelance Writer